Georgia Clark's Arts Mixtape

Comedy on Speed (mouse)


Umbilical Brothers
The Joyce Theater, 75 Eighth Avenue, 10014 NYC
June 29 – July 11
Tickets $49/ $35/ $19. Information (212) 242-0800 and

Jay Leno described them as "odd". Dave Letterman went with "kinda cute". They are the Umbilical Brothers; a dynamic comedy duo who, for better or worse, defy explanation. "Describing us is a nightmare for marketing people and Twitterers," agrees Umbilical Brother Shane Dundas. "I like to call it stand-up slapstick - we have the same attitude to slapstick that stand-ups have to the world. It’s a lot easier to say than 'sneaky existentialist absurdism packaged as childish physical comedy'." Indeed!

"We used to do a piece called the Brady Bunch Massacre. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty." The Umbilical Brothers keep it risqué this summer. Photo courtesy of CAMI Spectrum.

One microphone, two twisted imaginations and some seriously amped up vocal chords are all it takes to produce perfectly timed action comedy, all the way from Australia, where the lads are award-winning hometown heroes. This summer, the pair are bringing their critically acclaimed show Speedmouse to comedy lovers in New York. "You’re similar to an American audience, just better in every respect," says other Brother, David Collins. "New York is the one audience in the world where hecklers are heckled. 'All The World’s A Stage' is not strictly correct. New York is the stage, everywhere else is backstage."

Shane and David met in acting school almost two decades ago, where the pair quite literally connected: Dave broke Shane's nose in a case of jazz choreography gone wrong. Ever since, the pair have maintained their mix of danger and willful stupidity resulting in a unique style of comedy Time Out New York once described as an "uproarious fiesta of carefully choreographed mayhem".

When asked about the Australian comedy scene compared to the US, David explains the Australians are more self-deprecating. "Aussies don’t take themselves too seriously, or anything for that matter," he says. Shane agrees, adding, "our comedy is more influenced by the UK than the US. It feels less corporate than the US, which sounds good, but actually it’s a smaller pond. That means there are less opportunities for comics to develop stuff like adventurous, different TV series." It also means those who make the trip across the pond are guaranteed to be very, very good.

So, what's next for these creative kings of manic mimic? "It would be great to apply our approach to more traditional theatre - a cartoon Shakespeare would be nice," says Shane. "There’s always stuff floating around in our heads. We’ve just got to find a way of getting our resources to match our imaginations. Know any adventurous producers?" "We’re quite serious, adds David. "Do you?"

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